When I was in middle school, I was sexually abused by my best friend’s older brother. For over a year, my life was centered around the abuse and he manipulated me into believing that he abused me because he loved me. I remember him locking me in a closet so his father wouldn’t find me and I remember the fear sending shivers up and down my body. I remember the feeling of freezing snow on my back as he abused me in the dead of winter in the dark woods and I remember not being able to feel my fingers. There were so many memories of the abuse that haunted me for most of my young adulthood and brought me more pain than I could handle. Eventually, he and his family moved away, but I was left with unbearable feelings of shame.
In high school, I began abusing drugs and alcohol and lived a reckless lifestyle. Despite the dark cloud that followed me throughout my life, I managed to find a love for music and singing that has guided me in the right direction towards personal healing. My gift and my need to express myself allowed me to push past the trauma, and when I was 22, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue a Masters Degree in Opera Performance.
I began my degree with high hopes and dreams, believing that I had finally left the past behind me, but instead, I began crumbling as a human being. I had to drop out of the opera my first semester because I began losing my voice and eventually I was pushed into the lowest place I’ve ever been. The repressed memories of my abuse began rising to the surface in a disturbing fashion that rendered me incapable of functioning in a competitive environment. I had become a very fragile, devastated and lost human being. To make matters worse, I was disparaged by the egotistical faculty at my university, and I had to fight for them to allow me to go back and finish my degree during the healing process.
The most difficult day of my life was when I realized I had to tell my mother about the abuse. I had begun feeling unsafe with my own thoughts and I knew I needed serious help. It broke her heart, but she was my strength during that time and helped me find the support that I needed. To this day I am forever grateful for her love and guidance.